The Creative Home | Life Collected | The Mense Home

Today my grandparents celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary.

A little back story… Grandma and Grandpa (Hank and Lucille) met in high school, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They were married in 1948, and he enlisted in the Coast Guard which took them on adventure after adventure. Three of their greatest adventures are their children, who have given them seven grandchildren…I am one of those grandchildren. I have mentioned this set of grandparents before – my Grandma Mense is the one who gave me the olive shoe serving dish that inspired the name of my blog and small business.


{Grandma, Grandma and Me at my wedding in 2015}

I actually photographed their house in early November, but decided to save it for this month because it is such a reflection of their journey through life together.

Having served 23 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, my grandfather is a retired Commander, so they have had several houses together in all different areas of the U.S including: Milwaukee, Buffalo and Clevend, OH.



A little ditty y’all might appreciate: during Grandpa’s tour in Cleveland, OH a two year reservist named Arnold Palmer was transferred to his command.


{Mt. Ranier, photo from one of Grandpa’s slides}

Grandpa was later commanded to report in Port Townsend in Washington State, and in 1955, was transfered to Ketchikan, Alaska. At the time, Alaska was still a U.S. territory.



{I have always thought my Grandma is one of the most beautiful people…inside and out}

In 1957, he was transferred to Alameda, CA near the Bay area, and they bought a house – one of my Grandma’s two favorite of their lives, out of the newspaper. In 1964, Grandpa was transferred to Washington, D.C. and in 1978, he accepted a position at Coastal Carolina University (then college) and they moved to Myrtle Beach, SC. They moved into their current home in Myrtle Beach in spring of 2009.


What’s your favorite room?

Grandma: The guest bedroom. I can go in there and sit, and it’s so bright and cheerful. I like pink.


{A needlepoint done by my Great Grandma Anderson, Grandma’s mom, that hangs in the guest room}


Algernon, the rabbit perched on top of the book shelf, used to get to spend the night from time to time with us grandchildren..if of course, we were good.

Grandpa: It’s a toss up between the sun room and my office.

Grandpa’s office is full of sunshine, a manly mustard yellow, a large (large is an understatement) photograph of  nautical rope on a ship deck hangs on one wall. Grandpa, who is incredibly humble, would never brag on himself. However, a lifetime of accolades, awards, and photographs of family, friends and colleagues decorate the office.

Can you name any favorite things?

Grandma: I’ll have to think a while. I guess him {Grandpa}.

Me: He’s not a thing though.

Grandma: I love everything we have in this house…


Fonzi! (the dog)

Grandpa: My wife.

Grandma: Now that’s copycatting. If I’m not in the house what’s your favorite?

Grandpa: I love the way she has photographs of our family througout the house.

Grandma: {she’s thought awhile} The orchids

Do you have any favorite pieces of furniture?

Grandma: My mother’s little bedroom chair in the closet.


{The previously mentioned chair, above}


As you can see in the above photos, I come by my love of accessories naturally. It’s in my DNA.

The closet above is in the master suite which includes the bedroom…



{I absolutely adore the black and white of Grandma and Grandpa in high school, above, in the right side of the photo.}

…the sunporch…


..and the master bath, which is a snappy pink.


{ Notice that little shoe painting above the perfume

What is your favorite piece of art?

Grandma: The series of Swedish paintings in the corner of the sunroom…where my dad lived…they are the dearest.

Grandpa: The Keane paintings

Grandma: That’s a good answer because they’re dear to me, too.

The sunroom is off of the back of the house between the master bedroom’s sun porch and the patio.



So nice of sweet Fonzi, their Bischon Frise, to give me a little grin for the photo shoot!


Above and below, the Swedish art that Grandma referenced.


Left of the sunroom is their patio, a quiet little retreat.


Back inside, the sunroom leads into the living room.


Isn’t their art collection fabulous?? I just want to jump right into that magnolia painting above and have a fancy picnic on a white tablecloth in the garden.


The living room opens up to the dining room, which also houses some fabulous art pieces, including a gorgeous painting of a dogwood branch, a plate painted by my Grandma, and a photograph taken in Charleston by my cousin SaraJane.



Behind the wall with the Keane paintings is the kitchen and breakfast nook.


One thing I failed to capture is the guest bath at the end of the hall, that also opens up to the guest room. #photographerfail on my part, it is a light, bright blue, and houses a wonderful pencil drawing that my Uncle Mike did of their home in the Dunes club.

How would you describe your style?

Grandma: Eclectic, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. One thing is from this city and what thing is from that city.

Grandpa: Which would make it geographic eclectic.

What is your favorite house that you’ve ever lived in?

Grandma: The one in San Francisco {California} or the one in the Dunes Club {Myrtle Beach, SC}.

One last little ditty I have always loved is the map of their travels. Grandpas service in the Coast Guard, involvement in Rotary, and their mutual thirst for travel has taken them around the world as evidenced by their art collection and the map below.


Thanks for joining the first Creative Home Tour of 2017, and happy anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!


{The Mense Family, Christmas 2015}

Next month get a sneak peek at Lauren CopCar’s new abode when we feature the “Befores” of their new home!

Previous Creative Home Tours:

If you have or know of a creative space with interesting color, textures, and style that you’d like to see featured, I’d love to come take a look and even snap a few photos – please email me at and let’s have a chat!

In an ode to one of my previously mentioned old favorites…There’s no place like home!


The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

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